Rustefjellet has a specactular west front which falls steep down to Haugsværfjorden and Matresfjorden. Towards the east, the mountain joins the vast mountain plateau that eventually becomes the Stølsheimen mountain range. Hopsdalen valley cuts into this mountain region, with Rustefjellet on the south side and Dukefjellet on the north side. Seen from the south, Dukefjellet is an anonymous top above 700m elevation, but has a spectactular vertical south face. It is proper to use the term "face". We're definitely not talking about hillsides here.
While Dukefjellet is known as Dukefjellet, Rustefjellet is just a part of the larger mountain plateau. On the 1216-IV Matre map, the 774m high point is known as "Fjellet" (The Mountain)!. On the 774m summit cairn, you will see a sign that says "Hestafjellet" (Horse mountain). As I tend to stick with the map text to avoid confusion for the reader, I am using "Rustefjellet" throughout this web page.
Below, I am describing a round trip which takes you up Rustefjellet and down Hopsdalen. Dukefjellet is an option if you feel strong and the weather is favorable. This is a very scenic route. You rise from Haugsvær on a very good trail and get the Masfjorden, Matre and Stølsheimen views as a reward when you reach the top. Hopsdalen is a spectacular valley and you get all angles if you include Dukefjellet on your round trip. Although the upper part of Hopsdalen looks very unfriendly, a good trail will take you safely down without any form of obstacles. I recommend that you descend Hopsdalen (as opposed to ascending) as the trail is much easier to follow then.
You may also consider a different descent route. Rather than returning back down to Hopsdalen after having been to Dukefjellet, continue southwest from Horgi and follow the ridge across Jernfjellet down to Furebotn. I have not walked this route, but have heard it is good. The downside is that it is significantly further back to your car.
Rustefjellet (M711: 774m, Ø.K: 773,92) has a primary factor of 164m towards the higher Dukefjellet (835m) The saddle is found between Lake Stemmevatnet and Lake 602m. Ref. the 1216-IV map (20m contours), you cross the 620m contours on the high route, but not 600m. The saddle height has been interpolated to 610m.
Dukefjellet (M711: 835m, Ø.K: -) has a primary factor of 105m towards the higher Svadfjellet (878m) The saddle is found SW of Lake 722m. Ref. the 1216-IV map (20m contours), you cross the 740m contours on the high route, but not 720m. The saddle height has been interpolated to 730m.
Notes: Class ratings are in reference to YDS. Click here for more information.
The trails described below are not necessarily the *easiest* trails to this mountain.
Haugsvær (Hwy E39) - Rustefjellet - Dukefjellet - Hopsdalen round trip (summer/autumn)
From Bergen, follow highway E39 northbound. After the Nordhordlandsbrua bridge, pay (NOK 45,- for passenger cars per May 2005) at the Toll station. Drive approx. 62,9Km and turn left onto the road towards Solheim/Duesund/Rutledal. Drive 100m, turn right and drive through an underpass (you drive under E39). Notice the "Hestafjellet" sign inside the underpass. The road forks. There is room for 1 car in the fork. Alternatively, find parking alongside the road to Solheim.
Turn right (south) after the underpass. Follow a tractor road that runs upwards. The road curves around (on the right-hand side) two houses located at 120m elevation. From there on, the road runs straight towards Nova. The forest trail begins after you crossed the stream (may be dry) and is well made. It switchbacks up the forest and takes you to Nova - a viewpoint at approx. 400m elevation.
The trail continues below Rustefjellet's northwest ridge in a small basin. On top of this basin, leave the main trail and follow a smaller path northbound to "Fjellet" - the summit cairn on Rustefjellet. You *may* have to use your hands for support when you take the step from the main trail to the summit ridge. Nothing exposed, though.
To Lake Stemmevatnet
Head across Rustefjellet (northeast) and follow the high terrain all the way until you see Lake Stemmevatnet. You may follow the distinct ridge that drops down to the lake, but chances are that slabs will force you further to the right before you reach the lake. Pass the lake on the west side. You now have the option to descend Hopsdalen or continue up to Dukefjellet.
Follow a visible path up towards Gavlen. This path continues all the way to Stordalen (the Matre - Ortnevik road), but you will only follow it until you see Lake Nordgilsvatnet down to your right. A long lake (with a steep slope above) will force you to pass the lake on the east or west side. Ascend on the east side by following a small ridge that finally levels with the upper plateau. Shortcuts are not trivial here. Follow the "T" trail that runs across Jernfjellet (westbound) and leave the trail shortly after you've passed the Dukestølen cabin. Head north and follow a ridge until you see a neighbour ridge (to your left) where the high point is. There used to be a small cairn, but it is broken now.
Go down to Dukestølen and head for the west end of the long lake below. The crossing *should* be trivial in spring, summer and autumn. Follow the ridge back to Gavlen and the trail back to Lake Stemmevatnet. The trail down to Hopsdalen does not become distinct right away. Descend towards Hopsdalen immediately after getting down from Gavlen. You should have no problems locating the visible trail (rocky stairs in places) which leads through the boulder fields in the upper part of the valley. Note that the trail crosses the stream when you have the ruins of Røyfiten to your right. You have to cross through a forest in the lower sections of the valley. The trail disappears once you're out of the forest due to boggy ground, but there is a gate just behind a tree that blocks the view. Go through the gate and continue on the trail, which eventually becomes a tractor road.
At Hope, follow the road along the lake and go left in the first road junction. Follow the road around Juvika and it will lead you straight to the underpass where you started from.
Trip report May 28 2005
All weather forecasts for this week-end were uniform; rain. As such, I didn't plan for any major activity. However, I woke up early (05:00AM) this Saturday morning, thanks to the dog who must have mixed up timezones for no apparent reason. I had a look out the window and saw a fairly good morning. No blue sky, but a belt of light-grey clouds that did not seem to break out in rainshowers for a while. I went back to bed and dozed for twenty-some minutes. I got up again. No change in the weather. "Heck, I'm gonna get me a mountain before the rain", I told myself, and about an hour later I was on my way to the Matre region.
I had a good plan. I would hike straight up to Rustefjellet. If the rain set in, I would return back down to Haugsvær. If the weather held up, I would descend into Hopsdalen. If the weather still seemed good before descending into Hopsdalen, I could head up and down Dukefjellet. The plan ended there, as the county border ran just north of Dukefjellet, and the fact that I was not in the business of collecting Sogn and Fjordane mountains.
I left Haugsvær 08:10AM and had troubles locating the start of the trail. At the underpass (see trail description) I could go left or right. I went left while I should have gone to the right. No worries though. If I just followed the stream upwards, I would run into the trail. And so I did. The trail upwards was just excellent, but Troll did not appreciate the hard work that had been put into the trail. He was watching the morning become day from "the comfort zone" in the backpack.
We reached the Rustefjellet summit cairn 09:35AM. It was still a nice morning and there was no good reason to head back down. After a round of pictures I headed northeast across the Rustefjellet plateau. I passed a tire and wondered why it was there. I then passed two barrels with unknown contents. I assumed the barrels contained salt, and later I learned that the tires were used to keep the cubes of salt in place - preventing the sheep from pushing them off the mountain.
The western horizon grew darker by the minute, but I did not get the feeling that it would be raining soon. Not that I do mind rain all that much, but there are more fun things to do. On my way across Rustefjellet, I had admired the spectacular faces above Hopsdalen valley. I was quite determined to visit Dukefjellet already before arriving Lake Stemmevatnet, and followed a convenient trail upwards from the lake.
A long lake blocked a direct approach towards Dukefjellet. The western end looked tempting, but I ended up heading eastbound. The slopes above the lake were too steep to enter, so I felt I was on a long detour. Above these slopes I ran into snow and found myself on a T trail that I assumed ran across Jernfjellet and down to Haugsværfjorden. I was very tempted to follow this ridge down, but wanted to explore Hopsdalen even more. We reached Dukefjellet summit 11:45AM, and the sky was now dark-blue. It would start raining any time now.
Upon descending Dukefjellet, I took a shortcut down to the west end of the lake below Dukefjellet. Fortunately, the stream was fairly easy to cross. This had been a slight worry, as I had to go all the way back up if I couldn't cross. The slopes down to the lake were fairly steep, but offered no problems. After crossing the stream, I was on a ridge that fell steep down to Hopsdalen. The scenery was simply amazing.
The trail down Hopsdalen was even more amazing. Those who had built the mountain cabins ("støler" in Norwegian) in the old days had also put a lot of effort in the trail up the valley. Of course, they didn't think of it as "trails" back then. It was the road - where the horse would pull the wagon all the way up the mountain. It was a whole different life back then. I'm sure they didn't worry about incoming rain, either.
Speaking of rain, it hit me just after the last boulder field down in Hopsdalen, and it was really pouring. Quite refreshing, actually. I passed the Hope houses and met the farmer. Interestingly enough, he had been visiting my web-site and knew what I was up to. A colleague of him (which I have met on my way to the mountains on several occasions) had told him about me and my web-site, and this is how he knew of me. This is another fun aspect of this hobby of mine; I get in my car and drive 100Km away from Bergen to a place where I have never stopped before. I go up to the mountains and pass a local farm on the way down. And what do you know? They know what I'm up to. This is surely not the first time this has happened to me.
I had a couple of questions for the local farmer. The first was that I had noticed that a big slice of the mountain face was missing. Where was it? He told me that the terrain had overgrown the huge rocks that had fallen into the valley floor. They had been digging and found enormous rocks. My second question was about a big rock without moss. Did it fall recently? He told me that he and a friend were sitting on a rock in the valley when this rock came down the mountain. They had to run for their lives, and the rock would surely had killed them if they hadn't escaped. Who said anything about a dull life out in the country side?
The remaining 2,5Km on road back to the car wasn't equally interesting, but by 14:10PM I could change into dry clothes. This felt good as I had got soaking wet trying to walk around valley sheep that freaked out by my precense and ran towards the farm. I know too well that farmers don't welcome hikers that have a screaming herd of sheep in front of them, so I did my best to outsmart them. Sheep have the same pattern all over. They freak out, scream and run for 50m. Then they pause and study you. If you keep moving, they repeat their act. If they don't see you, they don't move. I was sneaking around the big rocks in the finest of native indian ways and fooled one group after the other. When the farmer watched me arrive Hope, there were only calm sheep in the valley....
Troll had been walking down Hopsdalen but went back into the backpack when we ran into the sheep. The whole hike must however have been mentally exhausting, because he fell to sleep long before I got into dry clothes. It was still early in the day. I had done two fine mountains, walked nearly 20Km and gained 1200 vertical meters in 5 hours. What a good way to begin the week-end!
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